Repetitive negative thoughts are not nice things to have, but you may be forgiven for believing that was the extent of it. However, psychological things are never quite that simple. We know for instance that one of the main characteristics of depression is rumination, which is just a technical word for repetitive negative thinking. We also know that negative thinking has a role in stress and anxiety.
Research has suggested a linkage of psychological factors, such as depression and anxiety with Alzheimer’s disease. This poses the question of how does depression and anxiety become a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease? New research suggests it is through repetitive negative thinking, and in particular, processes of rumination — repeatedly thinking about the past — and worry, being concerned about the future.
A recent study measured 360 participants’ repetitive negative thinking, depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline levels for up to 4 years.
The authors found that the greater someone’s repetitive negative thinking, the more rapid their cognitive decline. They also found these people were more likely to have significant deposits of brain proteins important in the development of dementia.
According to the lead author of the study Dr. Natalie Marchant of University College London, United Kingdom, depression and anxiety in mid-life and old age are already known to be risk factors for dementia. Here, we found that certain thinking patterns implicated in depression and anxiety could be an underlying reason why people with those disorders are more likely to develop dementia.
“Taken alongside other studies that link depression and anxiety with dementia risk, we expect that chronic negative thinking patterns over a long period of time could increase the risk of dementia. We do not think the evidence suggests that short-term setbacks would increase one’s risk of dementia.
“We hope that our findings could be used to develop strategies to lower people’s risk of dementia by helping them to reduce their negative thinking patterns.”
For those people motivated to manage their well being, research like this may be a gentle push in the right direction to take back control of their mental health through self Help CBT.
You can start right now with Anxiety Wizard. Get on top of the thought processes that not only ruin everyday life but may well speed up cognitive decline. Not a nice prospect but one that you can manage. You can take back control.
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Learn how your brain tricks you into thinking and doing all sorts of crazy stuff. You won't believe it.